HOPE ISLAND, QUEENSLAND – When Paul and Diane Debnam purchase their next motor yacht, two things will be certain: it will be a Riviera and its name will include the word “Knight”.
The couple have owned five Rivieras over the past 16 years. The first was an M370 sports cruiser they named Roman Knight.
The name was a development from a sailing yacht named Summer Knight they had owned for seven years.
“Our youngest son did not take to sailing and then our first grandchildren came along. Power seemed a better option for our boating future,” said Paul.
The couple’s commitment to Riviera comes down to a simple combination of build quality, fitout and finish and the educational and social events hosted by the company and the R Marine representatives.
“We have looked at other brands, both international and local,” said Paul. “However, none stacked up against Riviera.”
Paul and Diane lived an Raby Bay on the shores of Moreton Bay in southern Brisbane at the time and loved exploring the bay and the islands of the area.
“Roman Knight was a great entertainer,” said Paul. “The children loved the on-board life and we also enjoyed the company of friends on many days out.”
In 2009 Riviera launched its first Sport Yacht, the 3600.
“The build quality was exceptional and we loved the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that the Sport Yacht offered,” said Paul. “We took delivery of the very first one and named her Knight Moves – and she certainly did move. She was essentially the test bed motor yacht for the 3600 series and the engines were larger than Riviera utilised on later builds. She really did fly when we opened up the throttles!”
With children marrying and having children of their own, Paul and Diane soon realised that they needed more space. A Riviera 41 Open Flybridge served their purpose perfectly.
“She is a great motor yacht,” said Paul. “With accommodation for five, we could entertain our youngest son and his friends or one of the other married children.”
Deciding this would be their last Riviera, they named their new motor yacht Last Knight.
“It did create a little mirth at times when I was using the radio,” said Diane. “When I would call to a marina or another yacht, saying ‘This is Diane from Last Knight’ it may have caused some consternation!”
Youngest son James was growing rapidly – upward, to basketballer stature. Paul and Diane began to think about even more onboard space.
“One day Troy, our Riviera representative from R Marine Jones called me and said ‘come and look at this’,” said Paul. “She was a 47 Enclosed Flybridge. At first we thought she was too large for us to handle as a couple. But she turned out to be easy to manoeuvre. And the additional space suited James well.
They named this yacht Knight Life.
“We added stern thrusters, full system remote control and a number of other modifications. She had previously been utilised as a sport fisher and we wanted to return her to a cruising motor yacht. We changed to a lighter tender with a larger outboard motor so the kids could enjoy being towed on water toys around the bays.”
The couple also added screens around the cockpit.
“They have a double benefit,” said Paul. “First, they turn the cockpit into an entertaining area in any weather conditions and, second, they protect the entire cockpit area, especially the floor. We made a point of adding screens on every motor yacht we have owned for those reasons. We are focussed on maintaining our Rivieras in peak condition, both to ensure they perform as we require at all times, remain comfortable and provide strong resale value.”
The couple also seek to ensure their motor yachts utilise the latest and best technologies available.
“The Riviera Festival of Boating is a particularly valuable event for us,” said Paul. “We attend a number of seminars each year, particularly to learn more about our onboard systems.”
A move to Hope Island on Queensland’s Gold Coast brought a number of changes to Paul and Diane’s lifestyle.
“We consulted Randall Jones at R Marine Jones about the move and what we might expect,” said Paul. “Randall lives within the Hope Island community and he explained that it is a very social life with the canals, immediate access to many restaurants and the nearby golf courses.
“Our home is right on a canal that provides direct access to the Coomera River and the Broadwater. We decided a single-level motor yacht best suited our new life.”
The couple took delivery of a new Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht in 2018 and berth her on the pontoon at their home.
“She has so many advantages,” said Diane. “We prefer being together during voyages and a flybridge can separate us at times. The aft galley layout and indoor-outdoor environment perfectly suits our motor yachting lifestyle. I love being out on the water – the simplicity of it. And I love the Sport Yacht with its flow-through layout. The design is lovely.”
James also enjoys the additional space in the midships stateroom.
“We’re not sure how much time he is going to be with us now,” said Diane. “He was recently invited to attend volleyball training the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and starts university in Brisbane this year.”
Of course, the new Riviera’s name includes a Knight; this time Knight Vision. It looks to a future filled with memories.
“When the kids come home, they talk about memories on board our Rivieras,” said Diane. “They say ‘do you remember fun on the sand dunes’ or catching their first fish or first crab; priceless memories.
“For us, that is what our Rivieras provide for us – the vision of wonderful onboard memories.”